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Toshiba Paid Off To Drop HD-DVD? 229

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the murky-dealings-of-international-business dept.
TripleP writes "Was Toshiba paid-off to concede the HD battle? There are some signs that may point to this as a direct result of the ended format war. Reuters has reported that Sony has agreed to sell its Cell and RSX fabrication plants in Japan to Toshiba. The WSJ is reporting that is is a joint venture in the form of 60% Toshiba,%20 Sony and %20 Sony Computer Entertainment Inc."
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Toshiba Paid Off To Drop HD-DVD?

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  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:04AM (#22526716) Homepage
    Actually, the latest 3 layer HD-DVD had 51 GB, which is just ahead of BluRay. I'm not sure if any players ever supported 3-layer, but from what I know, they actually had it working. Both formats had pluses and minuses. I don't think either player had a really compelling reason to buy one over the other.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gr8Apes (679165) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:10AM (#22526748)
    BD requires AACS and ROM-Mark, IIRC. BD players won't play home burned disks, only commercially pressed ones, due to the Rom-Mark and AACS requirements. BD has region codes. BD lacks (still) many of the features already present in HD DVD. BD also costs about twice as much, even before the firesales. And last but not least, BD has BD+, essentially a back-door into your player that can brick it if some content provider's BD+ code decides your player doesn't match up with their expectations.

    To be fair, BD also had more space. (Yes, had, the proposed 51GB triple layer HD DVDs evened that score as well, even though BD could have layered one more on top of that, but that's a never ending game of one-upmanship.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:3, Informative)

    by IrquiM (471313) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:25AM (#22526820) Homepage
    No players supported the format. No discs where ever made - it was all on paper, so you could say that since there actually has been made BD100 discs, HD DVD was only ~50% of the size

    Also, the 3rd layer couldn't be used for anything else than data storage. It had no value as a multimedia layer.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by LBArrettAnderson (655246) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:30AM (#22526856)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blu-ray_Disc#Ongoing_development [wikipedia.org]

    That's a good explanation or the capabilities of the two formats.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:32AM (#22526870)
    This move is part of setting up a new joint venture between Toshiba and Sony that will be in effect next fiscal year (from 1. april 2008). They allready operate a similar joint venture today, where Toshiba owns 51% and Sony 49%. But since the current joint venture deal expires this fiscal year (31. march 2008), its just a continuation.

    So this has nothing to do with the lost HD DVD battle. It was actually announced back in october of last year :

      http://www.eetimes.com/rss/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206800618 [eetimes.com]
  • Re:Who cares (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @12:05PM (#22527072)
    There was about 6 or 7 GB of free space on the Transformers disc. They could easily have fit a lossless audio track on there if they wanted to.
  • Re:PS3 = Still Sucks (Score:3, Informative)

    by DrXym (126579) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @12:27PM (#22527240)
    The PS3 was attractive before (wifi, free networking, browser, bluetooth support, swapable HDD, AVC/H264 playback, DIvx etc. etc. etc.). It is a great console and a great multimedia player. Being one of the best players of the defacto HD video format certainly can't hurt it any.
  • This is old news (Score:2, Informative)

    by rickward (25813) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @12:42PM (#22527344) Homepage
    The agreement to sell the plants to Toshiba was made back in Oct/Nov 2007. It was one of the things that IMHO prolonged the format war, because it really looked like Sony was giving up on their flagship platform and taking greenmail. I remember distinctly thinking that maybe I should bite the bullet and get an HD DVD player because of that.
  • Re:Who cares (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wdomburg (141264) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @01:54PM (#22527840)
    Modern has nothing to do with it. Both formats are based on identical 405nm blue-violet lasers. The difference in capacity comes from BD using a wider apeture, which allows greater storage capacity but moves the data closer to the surface. The trade-off is higher manufacturing costs since existing production lines need to be retooled and discs require an additional protective coating.

    Proponents of the HD DVD format (myself included) argue that because both formats have ample capacity for a full length feature film in 1080p/24 with lossless audio the trade-off wasn't worthwhile. For most titles the additional spaces simply isn't used or is wasted with inefficient encoding; for example, the majority of titles that contain lossless audio forego compression entirely because the BDA made lossless compression (TrueHD or DTS-MA) optional instead of mandatory like the HD DVD spec. And since the overwhelming majority of standalone players don't implement them the titles which do use advanced compression will simply default back to DD 5.1 sound (i.e. no better than bog standard DVD).

    The additional capacity makes it more attractive as an optical storage format for computers, but I question whether that's particularly important these days. Now that USB hard drives are so cheap the consumer market is largely shifting that direction for archive and backup. Software distribution is likely to remain CD and DVD for a good long time, since very little software requires more space and very few computers had BD drives. File transfer is likely to remain a mix of DVD and (increasingly) flash storage. USB drives are cheap and far more compact and convienent than any optical media.

    Home video mastering is a potential market as well but given that the capacity of AVCREC (i.e. Blu-ray content on a standard DVD) is about two hours of high definition video, I suspect most of the market will stick with the media that costs a nickel a disc instead of the one that costs twelve dollars a disc. :) Prices will certainly drop as time goes on, but there's a chicken and egg problem here - prices won't drop with mass adoption, mass adoption won't happen without a price drop.

    (By the way, yes - TDK created a prototype of a 200GB disc about two years ago. No existing player supports them and there's been no indication that they're pursuing commercial production. They also showcased a 100GB disc at CES 2006 but have yet to bring anything to market. Hitachi has also demonstrated 100GB media and stated last quarter they were working on bringing it to market "soon" and is also working on 200GB but has yet to create a prototype.)
  • Yes and no! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @03:57PM (#22528752)
    additional DRM was optional? Yes and no:

    BD+ optional? Yes. But it's still an extra layer of DRM we now have to live with. And with HD DVD, AACS was also optional. With Blu-Ray, AACS is MANDATORY (Most recent PowerDVD switched to profile 1.1, and won't play AACS-less movies anymore!)

    Nevermind HD DVD also:
    -had no region codes
    -didn't need bullshit profile updates, 1.0 to 1.1 now, and 2.0 soon
    -supported all codecs out of the box (TruHD and DTS MA support not optional)
    -didn't need BD-J updates
    -often had a plain old DVD compatible layer (so the same disc will also play in the car/bedroom or such -- i'm not getting a blu-ray player for the car anytime soon, nor buying the same movie twice for that, nor reencoding them)
    -cost far less (even before price cuts, and sony is also losing money on PS3 sales)
    -from what i've seen, the titles played faster (damn slow BD-J crap, damn slow players, etc) -- it can take seen several minutes of wait to play a Blu-Ray disc... (HD DVD used simple html-like markup, with free dev tools/full docs and all)

    The *ONLY* advantage Blu-Ray had was more disc space, which is unnecessary -- just look at the DVD9-sized x264 reencodes from many groups out there... They look as good as the retail disc to me (on a fairly high end TV, and I'm not blind either). On a 25GB disc, that would still leave you with 14GB left for extra audio tracks and extras. From a computer storage/backup standpoint, that DOES make Blu-Ray better, but as for a entertainment/video format, not.
  • Re:From the people (Score:2, Informative)

    by Boycott BMG (1147385) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @05:30PM (#22529406) Journal
    You seem to be confusing Sony/BMG and Sony Corporation. It wasn't Sony that installed the rootkit on CDs it was Sony/BMG. Sony/BMG is 50/50 owned by Sony and Bertelsmann with most of the decision makers (at the time) being from the BMG side. It isn't too much of a surprise really, given than BMG had a very crappy reputation previous to the merger, even for a record company. Sony does hold some blame being a major shareholder, but the ultimate decision was not theirs. If you insist on boycotting Sony, you should at least be consistent and also boycott anything from Bertelsmann as well.
  • Re:PS3 = Still Sucks (Score:3, Informative)

    by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Saturday February 23, 2008 @06:34PM (#22529832)
    Out of the 4 PS3 models so far, 20, 40, 60 & 80 the 40 gig is the only one that doesn't play PS2 games. The 20 & 60 have a built in PS2 "emotion engine" and play PS2 games perfectly. The 80 gig model (also 60 gig pal version) uses software emulation and currently plays ~55% of PS2 games without problem (check here [playstation.com]), the other 45% have problems of some sort or another, although future software updates may increase compatibility. Here [wikipedia.org] is the Wiki link, explaining it all.

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